FIELD WORKS is less a band, more a collective exploration of the various musics that cross over and find each other out on the edges of their respective stylistic disciplines, fuse, enter the wider sphere of the ambient.
It’s all helmed by Indianapolis producer Stuart Hyatt, who began the series – the forthcoming album is the ninth instalment – in 2018, releasing Pogue’s Run digitally on Temporary Residence, and calling on the services of Kranky’s Benoit Pioulard, Eluvium and William Tyler to flesh out his vision.
Since then there’s been digital explorations such as The National Road, featuring both Lali Puna and Nick Zammuto, formerly of The Books; Katryn Aurelia Smith, Gazelle Twin and Pantha Du Prince came aboard for no.7, Initial Sounds; last year’s Ultrasonic graduated up to physical formatting, and is based for a sound source around the ultrasonic echolocations of the Indiana bat, modulated for human audibility and then fashioned into music by Mary Lattimore, Kelly Moran, Taylor Deupree, Sarah Davachi; others. It’s quite the thing then; quite the exploration for jaded ears.
Album the ninth in the series is soon to be upon us and is entitled Cedars; it seeks to combine cosmic Americana with Western ambient and Middle Eastern influences. Take a listen to the first track release below, “La’ali”: blissful tones sing out beneath Arabic poetry, intoned by Youmna Saba; little string interjections and pedal steel add other colours to an already bright palette. Then Youmna lilts, sings out; it’s a very beautiful thing.
And that’s the theme of this instalment of Field Works: set to Arabic and English poetry, it’s a song cycle examining the world’s ancient forests and our relationship with them.
For this dual-language release, Stuart Hyatt has assembled a supergroup of musicians, poets, and artists; the musician involved include Marisa Anderson, Fadi Tabbal, Dena El Saffar, Danny Paul Grody, Bob Hoffnar, Tomás Lozano, Nathan Bowles, Alex Roldan, Youmna Saba, and Stuart himself.
Additionally, illustrator María Medem brings poetry to life in the accompanying full-colour comic book. As we said: quite the thing.